Q: Dee asks, A while back you posted an entry on the cover of Touchstone. I am curious as to what you think about the new editions of A Grave Talent nearly sharing the same cover as The Art of Detection.

A: Publishers like to do a “brand look” on a series, to identify the writer and link the books in readers’ minds. The figure-and-bridge that they’re using for Grave Talent is meant to tie that book in with TAoD, although as you say, I’m not sure they got it quite right. We had the same problem with the Russell series, both in the paperback reissue (which feature the Russell figure, in various colors) and more worryingly with the last two hardbacks, when the cover of Locked Rooms closely resembled that of The Game. At signings for Locked Rooms, I had a number of people pick up the book and tell me they’d already read it, only to realize they hadn’t when I talked about it. Oops. Back to the drawing board.

On the other hand, the four covers Picador is doing for their trade paper edition of the first four Russells in the fall are exactly what you want series covers to do: they link the books strongly, while each instantly identifies it book. Very impressive covers, one of which is on the upcoming newsletter.

Q: Jeff wants to know, Can a movie ever be made now that Jeremy Brett has passed away?
A: I’m sure people said the same thing when Basil Rathbone died, but somehow they managed. I’m not going to dip my toes into the “Who will play..?” pool, since the monsters lurking there will pull me right in, but I can think of half a dozen actors I’d love to see in the role.

Tomorrow, the much-requested polenta-with-gorgonzola-and-pecans recipe.

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